The collections of WHS shall reflect the history of Wauwatosa from its beginnings to the
present. This shall also include materials from Milwaukee County and the State of
Wisconsin as they relate to Wauwatosa’s historical experience. Collections shall be for
the benefit of present and future generations of Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County, and its
Many photographs were published in our book, Images of Wauwatosa. There are hundreds
more available, including postcard images. Our photos are organized by subject category, such
as: Businesses, the Village, Families, People, Churches, Schools, Agriculture,
Clubs/Organizations, Health and Human Services, Recreation/Sports, and
Wauwatosa Historical Society Newsletters Our newsletter, Historic Wauwatosa is a rich
resource. Because of its in-depth historical articles, it has received the prestigious Reuben Gold
Thwaites Award from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
Community Histories are an important starting point for any research. Significant volumes in
the WHS collections are: Reminiscences of Early Wauwatosa by Emma Clapp Watner (1902);
Sketches of Wauwatosa compiled by Elizabeth Foley (1932); The Wauwatosa Story (1961 &
revisions), and Images of Wauwatosa (2004). Since Wauwatosa did not incorporate as a village
until 1892, its early years were connected to the Town of Wauwatosa, which is chronicled in
Memoirs of Milwaukee County by Jerome Watrous (1909), and From Trading Post to
Metropolis: Milwaukee County’s First l00 Years.
Wauwatosa City Directories provide an excellent tool for finding people who once lived in
Wauwatosa. The directories list the head of household alphabetically by surname, along with
their address and occupation. WHS has directories from 1892 to 1989 (but not inclusive).
Regular publication began in 1926. The 1932 book includes new street name and number
changes. Directories also contain listings for businesses and churches. There are also a few
comparable county directories: a 1926 and two 1940’s books for the Town of Wauwatosa.
Assorted Published Books are also part of our collection. Topics include Wauwatosa,
Milwaukee, Milwaukee County and the State, as well as architecture, historic preservation,
landmarks, and works by Wisconsin authors.
(Miscellaneous paper or book materials grouped by subject matter)
Biographical Collections Filed by a person’s or family name (e.g. Hart, Swan) and may include
clippings of obituaries, death notices, or newspaper articles.
Cookbook Collection from 1891 and on-going. A detailed list is available with titles and
publishers. Most are non-local and span the decades to the 1960’s.
Cemeteries Collection. General information on Wauwatosa and Milwaukee County cemeteries.
Church Collection. Wauwatosa churches by name (not sacramental records): may include
anniversary booklets.
Landmark and Building Collection. Filed by street address (e.g. homes by numbered and named
streets); district/neighborhood/subdivision (e.g. Chestnut Street and Wellauer Park); building
reference (e.g. architecture and preservation).
Map Collection. Maps are a helpful resource that be used to track the growth of a community
and to locate streets and changes in their names. Our collection includes the 1876 Historical
Atlas (plat map book) of Milwaukee County, and in addition there is a detailed listing for maps
that include pre-1900 and post-1900 Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County, and Wisconsin.
Milwaukee County Institutions. WHS holds a copy of the Register of Burials (1882-1974) from
the Milwaukee County Poor Farm with over 8,000 names, dates, and causes of death. The
collection also includes published Annual Reports of the Milwaukee County Institutions (18961926 (not inclusive), many with photos. Memoirs (including photos and maps) of the Milwaukee
County Children’s Home by Joseph F. Cieminski, who resided there from 1933-41, are also
Newspaper Collection. WHS holds bound copies of the Wauwatosa News (beginning with 1900)
and the Wauwatosa News Times through 1994; loose copies thereafter. WHS has the ONLY
index to this paper, from 1900 through 1917. This index is computerized and can be searched by
personal or corporate name for a printout of the entry.
Periodical Collection. Magazines on the history of Wauwatosa, Milwaukee, the County, and the
State in addition to house restoration, preservation, architecture, and Victorian interiors. (See
Historic Wauwatosa May 2005 for a detailed list.)
School Collection. These files are organized by school name and contain varied materials.
These are not official school records. We also have school newspapers, including the Cardinal
News and the Hawthorne Echo.
School Reunions Collection. Beginning with the class of 1927, these files reflect activities of
Wauwatosa class reunions.
Wauwatosa Government Collection. Among a list of these files are: the City Seal, city telephone
directories, ordinances, city planning materials, the Village, Police Department, 100th
Anniversary, the Library, and annual bulletins and city newsletters.
Wauwatosa High School Collection. A variety of items are found in this grouping, including
student publications and commencement items.
Yearbook Collection. These are primarily from Wauwatosa High School, Wauwatosa East High
School, and Wauwatosa West High School, along with Wauwatosa Junior High School and
Whitman Junior High/Middle School. There is a list of all years available. We hold three
yearbooks from the Milwaukee County School of Nursing from 1970-1972.
Other Special Collections. Some smaller files have material by these subjects: The Great
Depression, Political, Receipts, Senior Citizens, Tourism, Scrapbooks, Videocassettes, Compact
Discs, Audiocassettes, and Film.
What are manuscripts? Manuscripts can be the personal papers of an individual, including
correspondence, school report cards, playbills, receipts, and memorabilia. They can include the
official records of a business, institution, or organization, including incorporation, minutes,
financial material, and correspondence. The name reflects the creator of the material. These
collections may also include photographs, books, maps, and artifacts. Below are abstracts from
a variety of manuscripts that we hold; there are over a hundred additional smaller files. These
primary source materials offer a wealth of historic information, much of which is not found
Brouwer’s Research Foundation, Inc. (1926-1960’s). Paper and artifact items from the life of
Stephen J. Brouwer, who developed shoe lasts. He lectured extensively and utilized X-Ray
machines in his local shoe stores to ensure the proper fit.
Buesing, Warren (1963-1978). Papers of a Wauwatosa School Board member, who also chaired
the Wauwatosa School Board’s Citizen Committee. Files on individual schools are found, as
well as reports related to subjects such as pupil population and building facility studies.
M & I Wauwatosa State Bank (1920-1989). Business papers and photographs from this local
bank founded in 1920, which was purchased by M & I. Of particular note are aerial photographs
of the village area and North and Wauwatosa Avenues when the bank moved there in the 1970s.
Olson, Frederick I. These are personal papers of Dr. Olson related to his historical writings on
Wauwatosa and other memorabilia
Ravenswood Garden Club (1939-1999). Materials from this garden group include their
constitution and by-laws, activities, scrapbooks, minutes, and a history of the club.
Walker Family. Papers, memorabilia, photographs, and artifacts that belonged to Emery
Walker, 2nd owner of the Kneeland-Walker House, including material on both of his wives,
Maybelle and Constance.
Washington Homes Association (1923-1997). These are the records of the association that
formed in 1919 to oversee the Washington Highlands neighborhood, to which all homeowners
belong. Among the papers are minutes, property change correspondence, assessment files,
employee files, financial statements, and a group of miscellaneous drawings for improvements
on homes, all listed by address or lot and block number. There is a detailed finding aid to this
material to help researchers.
Wauwatosa Common Council Proceedings 1898-1958). These are the official, bound volumes
that chronicle the activities of the Wauwatosa common council, beginning with a handwritten
ledger dated May 3, 1898 and continuing, with later typed pages, through January 21, 1958.
Wauwatosa Community Concert Association 1950-1987). These are records of this group that
brought musical programming to the community, including minutes, reports, correspondence,
and programs for events.
Wauwatosa Council of Parent-Teacher Associations (1944-1981). Activities of this group are
represented in a council history, scrap books with photographs and clippings, and yearbooks for
the participating Wauwatosa public schools. WHS has additional collections on Hawthorne and
Longfellow Junior High P.T. A. organizations.
Wauwatosa Curling Club (1926-1950s). Material of the club’s activities, including special
events and photographs of curling.
Wauwatosa Fire Department. Until recently, WHS only had a group of department annual
reports. The Fire Department, however, recently donated a large body of material, which is
unprocessed, that includes many photographs and material recording department activities.
Wauwatosa Music Club (1946-1988). This manuscript includes the complete set of yearbooks of
the club from 1946-1982 and scrapbooks of activities from 1945-1988, with a few missing years.
Wauwatosa Pioneers (1931-1980). Minutes and papers related to this organization that had roots
to the pioneer settlers of Wauwatosa.
Wauwatosa Vocational Homemaker’s Club (1940-2001). These are the records of this club that
disbanded in 2001, including information on Wauwatosa students who received their
Wauwatosa War Memorial (1945-1956). Records of the community fund-raising effort to create
a memorial in the civic center
Webster School. This school was formerly Washington School. We hold school registers, P.T.A.
notebooks, photographs, and other related material.
Wells Family (1888-1910). Memorabilia from this early family including school items and
Wheeler Family. Genealogical information on this pioneer family.
Work Projects Administration: Writer’s Program (1938). This is a unique body of material
created by writers of the WPA toward the goal of compiling a Wauwatosa Guide Book. It was
never put into final form. There is a complete index of articles by topic, such as Early Settlement,
Geology, Indians, Pioneers, Transportation, Sports, Wauwatosa Clubs & Organizations, and
many more. The writers also compiled biographies of local people and these, and the authors,
have been indexed by name.
Zillmer-Moore Family. Genealogical information on these families with some material on the
Etzel and Swan families. There is also a large collection of identified photographs of early
Wauwatosa settlers.